“You Can’t Make It In Corporate America With Locs”…Supposedly.

Man with Dreadlocks in a Business Suit
It hurts me that in this day and age we, as a people, cannot embrace our own culture. I recently discovered the article in Black Enterprise entitled “Hampton University School of Business Bans Dreadlocks“….and I did the double take, like really?! I personally know several people that went to Hampton and a few of them actually have locs and graduated and landed great jobs, so why is it that the Dean insists “Male students enrolled in the school’s 5-year MBA program who take the seminar class cannot wear dreadlocks or cornrows in class“?

Dreadlocks in Corporate America

I personally have been in the Corporate World with my relaxed hair, natural hair, and now sisterlocks and haven’t faced discrimination. Yet, at a historically African-American school you’re told that you have to look “this way” if you want to make it. Truly Sad. It should be hard to believe, but its not.
Typically we, in the African-American Society, are known to bring each other down, but I believe its time to start building each other up! Bans like this only further reiterate the mentality that we are inferior and have to conform in order to succeed, which is really not the case.  I am thankful for groups like T.A.N.G.L.E.S. which stands for “Transitioners and Naturals Growing, Learning, and Educating Students” that is on Howard University’s campus. T.A.N.G.L.E.S offers support and encouragement for natural hair instead of labeling it as inferior! I have spoken to the T.A.N.G.L.E.S. group several times over the past few semesters and I hope to speak with them again and show that Locs, Natural Hair, Braids, or Cornrows are parts of our culture that are accepted, if you accept them.

Can You Make It in Corporate America With Locs?

What are your thoughts on the professionalism of natural hair? 

Previous Post
Next Post

Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

Natural styles on women and dreadlocks on men and women can cause problems in some people’s career paths. I hate to say that, but it is true and unfortunate in 2012. Personally, I have not had any problems, but I am a chemist which I don’t consider to be a corporate position. Please visit this blog by Sheeka Strickland and read her views on natural in the workplace. She’s a news reporter. http://sheekastrickland.wordpress.com/

I can’t say I’ve ever observed this first hand, but I definitely think it is really sad that in 2012 your hairstyle dictates your competence. I’ll definitely check out her blog, thanks for sharing.

I have dreads, I am and RN in administration, pretty high up, it has not caused me any problems, but, I also have a BSN, a Master’s in Health Care Management and 24 years experience. I also reside in California, where dreads are a lot more common, even among non minorities.

I’m happy to hear that your locs have not influenced your upward mobility in your industry!

This is very sad. I wear my hair natural and I get the crazy looks from some people and it really makes me upset that people of my own race look down on me because I chose to wear my hair the way it grows out of my head. I wonder if this choice made by the Dean has anything to do with the neatness of dreads? To be honest, I love dreads, when they are neat and look clean. I have seen some dreads that are obviously not kept neat and are very noticeably unclean. Maybe one bad apple ruined it for all…

Yes, I agree it is sad that it is usually our own race that looks down upon the embrace of our culture.

I think is it the Dean’s unwillingness to make a change in the workplace but instead to compromise or render natural hairstyles “inferior” to European styles. Sad.

The way the Dean is talking reminds me of the dean from “How High”. Basically, he wished he was white. Which was why he came down so hard on the few black students in the school.
SELF HATE IS REAL!! Calling it like I see it.

LOL! I haven’t seen “How High” in forever…. but yeah it is definitely self-hate. SMH.

I have to agree with CarmenNC. You have to play the game in corporate America.

If you want to make your on rules, start your own business. Until then, there are certain freedoms and liberties you forgo when working for someone else. This is one of them.

There are areas of corporate america that are more relaxed these days when it comes to the hair. I believe ones overall appearance should be neat and simple and save all the power to the people looks for when you have an honest feel for your work environment.

I’m currently in the corporate world and was shocked at the number of compliments I received about my TWA. And then pleasantly surprised at the favorable compliments I received on my Sisterlocks.

I’ve determined that we can all co-exist, cultures and styles. Just keep in mind what your overall goal is and work your way up from there.

Yes, I believe your appearance should be neat and well-kept and your hair should be of no consequence as long as its maintained.

I’m with CarmenNC. As a biologist, I haven’t had any hair related issues in the workplace with my near waist length locs. For an interview I can put my hair in a bun. For a conference or presentation I can wear them curly or in a long braid/twist out, and in the lab my hair is pulled back into a ponytail like all of the other women.

Keeping your appearance neat and clean is the key. How many of us have seen a sista claiming to be going natural but truthfully she looks like…Nevermind. I digress.

If natural hair is a problem in certain corporate offices please believe that cutting off your locs or perming your hair is not going to solve the issues in that environment. There will be other “concerns” that arise soon after.

I totally agree!!

I just started my locs and I am starting my own business. I belive that I will be blessed by what I will bring to corporate america and I will have nothing to do with my hair.

[…] when it comes to locs, such as they’re not clean, they’re not elegant, and that you can’t wear locs in Corporate America but from personal experience, I’m here to tell you it can be done! Here are a few styles for […]

[…] RELATED ARTICLE: You Can’t Make It In Corporate America With Locs […]

[…] RELATED ARTICLE: Locs Are Banned on Campus of HBCU […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.